Kirchner's Double-Double Highlights Lenox Win in Opener
LENOX, Mass. – The Lenox girls basketball team had a 10-point lead late in first quarter of Saturday’s season opener when Kelsey Kirchner crossed sports.
The standout on the Millionaires’ volleyball team this fall threw a charge into the big matinee crowd when she spiked a shot on the baseline.
The block helped keep it a 14-5 lead after one quarter, and the Millionaires carried the emotional lift into a 13-0 run to open the second quarter en route to a 56-33 win over Lee.
“Nice to see some aggression, for sure,” Lenox coach Nicole Patella said of the defensive sequence. “She really wanted this game, and she played hard.”
Kirchner finished with double-double, scoring 10 points and pulling down 12 rebounds as Lenox earned a win on the day the school named the basketball floor after legendary coach Fred Lafave and rededicated the gymnasium to the memory of longtime Principal Joseph J. Carroll.
“She came out really strong,” Patella said of Kirchner. “It was good to see. She’s a junior. She’s one of our leaders. And I really needed her to come out strong, and she played well in the paint.
“She’s one of our highest percentage shooters, so it was good to see her not hesitating.”
Lee (0-1) got 11 points apiece from Mika Diller and Gianna Carlino. Diller also finished with a game-high 17 rebounds, and she had all five of the Wildcats’ points in the first quarter.
Jocelyn Fairfield started the second quarter by driving the baseline and scoring two of her game-high 14 points to start the knockout run.
Kirchner knocked down a 3-pointer, and Fairfield scored again in that stretch, which ended with a triple from Chloe Parsenios (10 points) to open up a 27-5 lead.
It was a 20-point margin at half-time, and Lenox continued to pull away in the third quarter, closing the period on a 13-5 run to go ahead, 45-17.
Claire O’Brien scored seven points in the third quarter on her way to a nine-point afternoon.
“I’m guard heavy,” Patella said. “Kelsey’s really our only true center. We all can play the perimeter really well. Any one of them can bring the ball up. She shared the ball really well. All of them shot. They were very unselfish at times. It was nice to see.”
Lee closed the game strong behind a nine-point quarter from Carlino as the visitors outscored their hosts, 16-11, in the final eight minutes.
Lee will look to build on those positives on Wednesday when it travels to face Putnam Vocational, one of three straight road games to open the season.
Lenox (1-0) goes to Mahar on Wednesday.
Patella, who spent the pregame surrounded by family, including her father, Lafave, the man of the hour, relied on her team to not be overwhelmed by the emotion of the day.
“I tried not to talk a lot about it,” she said. “I mostly said I’m going to be very emotional, so I might not be in it the first couple of minutes. But they really took care of it from there on in.
“My son [Lenox standout, now assistant coach Bailey Patella] is obviously helping. So they know the back story of my dad and how much basketball meant to him and everything. So they were really happy and proud to be here in this gym to witness that.”